Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Mid-Summer's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ... January 2013

I've been away from the blogging world for a little while now, and it's great to be back.  I've actually been away from home for a month and away from my garden.  That means, unfortunately, my garden and plants have suffered a little in my absence. 

My darling husband tried his best.  He watered all the potted plants, and watering those is certainly the critical number one priority in my garden during the summertime.  I'm ever so grateful that my darling did that job.  Unfortunately though, there were a few losses.

All the other garden areas had to get by with no attention, which means that they all look rather unloved, but I know I'll enjoy getting things back to their flourishing potential again.

Anyway, I'm continuing my 'Snapshots' series and joining in the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day  meme with this post ... my first for 2013 ... despite the sad and sorry state of things at the moment.

Conditions during December-January (early to mid-Summer):

The beginning summer months have been hot, hot, hot and horribly humid and steamy, as usual. 

Daytime temps. have hovered around the 33-34 deg C mark (91-93 F), with humidity levels somewhere between 60-80% at varying times of the day.  It's the humidity that makes the heat rather unbearable.  It's a sweltering, oppressive tropical heat, which really takes a toll on the garden.  Nights have been a little cooler with temps. between 23-26 deg C  (73-78 F), so when the sun sets it does get a little more comfortable.

At the moment, the skies are mostly blue and filled with fluffy white clouds.  There's been no decent rain to speak of over the start of summer ... 14.6 mm  ( 0.6 of an inch) in December, and 29.8 mm (1.2 inches) so far in January ... but that is also typical.  Our wet season usually doesn't start until around about the end of January.  The predictions are for a rather mild wet season this year though, so it will be interesting to see what totals we get through the 2013 wet.

The surrounding bushland is fairly dry and parched under the canopy of the Eucalypt trees,

and my small property is the same.   Everything is bone dry, apart from those little patches of green that result from the run-off from the garden beds watered by the timed sprinkler system.

Starting with the trees around the property ... what's blooming?

When  making comparisons with this time last year, I have to say there are not many trees in bloom at all.  This mid-summer the only trees with flowers hanging on the branches are the Delonix regias and my Cassia fistula.

There are four Poincianas on the property, and while all are blooming, the end of their blooming cycles is now in sight.

The Cassia fistula, or Golden Shower tree, is always in full bloom at this time of the year.

There are lots of stunning golden yellow racemes hanging from the branches, and it makes a fabulous sight at the back of the courtyard garden.

This time last mid-summer, there were blooms on two of the Lagerstroemia speciosa, or Queen's Myrtle.  Nothing this mid-summer.  There were also blooms on Citharexylum spinosa or the Fiddlewood Tree last mid-January, but not a single flower can be spotted on any of these this year. 

There are however, a few gorgeous puffy flowers on the Corymbia dallachiana, or Dallachy's Gum.

Now onto the shrubs ... what's blooming?

When it comes to the shrubs, there's just a little more to report.  Whilst there are no flower sightings on the Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee', or Lagerstroemia indicas, as there was last mid-summer,

there are a few hanging lanterns on the Hibiscus schizopetalus or Japanese Lantern, and the Mussaendas are in bloom.

Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore' at the back of the courtyard garden

Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose' in the front garden bed

and Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' in the tiered garden beds.

There are also a few flower heads on my old Ixora coccinea at the back of the courtyard.

In the Shadehouse Garden ... what's blooming?

A month away from gardening means things have gotten a little out-of-control in the Shadehouse Garden, and I really need to get in there and have a good clean-out.   It's hard to notice any colour whatsoever other than green in amongst the rampant Nephrolepsis (Giant Sword Fern) and Neomarica (Yellow Walking Iris).

Upon closer inspection though, you will find a few members of the Ginger or Zingiberaceae family displaying their inflorescences.

Globba winitii or the Mauve Dancing Lady is on show.

 Curcuma australasica 'Anita' is blooming.

There are inflorescences on the Costus productus or Orange Spiral Ginger as well.

Aside from the blooming Gingers, the striking white flowers of the Spathiphyllums are also standing tall in amongst the ferns and Walking Irises.

Out in the Courtyard Garden ... what's blooming?

The courtyard garden is really looking drab and dreary at the moment, and is definitely not looking its best.

Whilst my husband attended to the critically important job of watering all the potted plants around the courtyard, he didn't really understand the differing watering needs of the various plants that fill that space.

Some love having their foliage showered by the hose, but others detest that and just adore being watered at their base.  Some plants need a drenching, others just need a little sprinkle.  My darling hubby didn't quite get it right, so I lost plants like the Torenias, the New Guinea Impatiens and Osteospermum.  I have to commend my darling for his efforts though, as I know just how much he really dislikes hosing plants or having anything to do with plants!

Some wonderful plants soldiered on and are providing a little bit of colour.

Angelonia angustifolia 'Serena' series is such a fabulous hardy plant.  I'm considering filling the courtyard with pots of it!!!   If there was a gold medal for toughness, durability and beauty, this would be the hands-down winner in my garden.

Another winner would be Ixoras.  Ixora 'Twilight Glow' is showing its lovely two-tone apricot flowers.

The brilliant white flowers of the Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' stand out in the sunshine.   This is another sun, heat, humidity and drought tolerant plant.

The other stunning white flowers in the courtyard are the pinwheel blooms of Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love'.

A new beautiful purple Water Lily opens up every  morning to greet that sun.

The Pelargoniums are enjoying the fierce summer sunshine.

There is a Zinnia or two left from the seeds I saved from last year's Zinnia 'Summer Brilliance' mix.

 There are a few flower sprays on the potted Duranta repens.

The lovely Clerodendrum ugandense is blooming as well.

There are also a few Portulaca flowers in various corners of the courtyard.

Elsewhere ... what's blooming?

(Hill Driveway Garden)

Fern Gully is suffering in the hot and dry conditions,

but there are a few flower sprays on the Plumerias at least,

and the old-fashioned red-flowering Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is blooming. 

(Tiered Garden Beds)

The tiered garden beds outside the shadehouse are looking a little unloved and boring.

The aforementioned Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' does pair well with the Duranta repens covered in bunches of orange berries.

The Justicia brandegeana continues to bloom.

Mandevilla 'White Fantasy' is blooming beside the shadehouse garden.

(Driveway Garden Beds)

In the driveway rock garden the Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu' continues to throw out its deep blue tubular flowers with the yellow throat.  I really love the colour of this plant.

In a separate section of the driveway garden the Turnera subulata and Russelia are also on show.

Further down the driveway, near the front gates, the Pseudomussaenda flava is covered in its creamy white bracts and little yellow flowers.

Well that's about it for the garden areas away from the shadehouse and courtyard gardens.

To finish off my post today, I'm adding some shots of the wonderful birdlife and wildlife that has been visiting our property this week, and providing a little cheer.

Kookaburras are a daily visitor.  We hear their chorus every day, several times a day.

Magpie Lark

Sulphur crested Cockatoos

Rainbow Lorikeets

White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike

 We also had a visit from a Ring-tailed Possum

and an Echidna.  Unfortunately I only managed to get a rear end shot of the Echidna, which is not all that flattering.

I'm joining Carol for GBBD.


  1. You have a wonderful husband, Bernie! The garden still looks so beautiful. It's no wonder nature abounds on your property! Lovely photos. I always enjoy a visit.
    Happy New Year : )

    1. He is a treasure, Karen. The poor love really doesn't enjoy any gardening task, but he tried his best just for me! Thank goodness. Without the watering he did, I would have come home to a far worse picture.

  2. Fantastic blog, all those lovely plants and trees. I am so happy to see so many of these here in my village and garden too, as we do not get frost. So I don't have to be too homesick. Lately it seems as if the tropics have come down here, very cloudy and humid, temps over 35, so almost unbearable. We also use a lot of sprinkling to keep things green and fireproof. That risk is always there being so close to trees and bushland. You should be getting some nice rains now, hope it will revive the dry areas. Great pics to stare at here, thanks.

    1. I've seen the weather reports for your spot, and it certainly seems to be excruciatingly hot over there. The rains haven't arrived yet, but there are predictions for possible showers this week. Keep everything crossed! The dry season has now lasted over the usual 9 months, and we really need decent rain.

  3. How wonderful it is to see all your tropical foliage and the fabulous tropical birds. They don't seem at all bothered by the tropical heat and humidity. Just a few are familiar to me. I just saw a gorgeous clerodendron, similar to yours, in a Florida garden. I loved its pendulous flowers. Happy Bloom Day and welcome home.

    1. Lancashire Rose, the foliage plants are just wonderful and are most certainly the backbone of the garden. Without them, I would be looking at a bleak parched landscape. I do so love my flowers though. I only wish we had the conditions, the rain and the room for loads more.

  4. I bet you are happy to be back in your garden Bernie, and possibly your saint of a husband is happy too?! Loved all your summer flowers, most of which I of course don't know and haven't even heard the name of, as usual :-) Happy GBBD!

    1. Helene, I'm very very happy to be back at home and in the garden, although the heat and humidity is keeping me indoors most of the day right now. I know my darling is over the moon I'm back. He keeps telling me his tale of woe when he was forced to water those darn plants every single day. Apparently that is just painful!!!

  5. Dearest Bernie.
    I´m incredibly pleased you´re back. I´ve been so worried, from my end of the world, seeing and hearing about those horrid bushfires in your lovely country. Not sure I´d be able to manage those hot temperatures. Here, at the moment, the gardens are covered in a thick fluffy layer of snow and the day temp. is minus 5-8 deg C, down to minus 9-12 deg C during the night.
    Your dear husband has done a great job. What the ´hose´ concerns, he seems to have thought alike my husband: ´using the hose, the ´work´ will be over and done with, in no time´ ;o) If one is not a keen gardener it´s definately always better than nothing.
    It´s wonderful looking at your post today, enjoying all your lovely plants, still going strong.
    I wish I could get hold of a Clerodendrum ugandense, think it´s marvellous, bright blue.
    Thanks for sharing the wildlife photos too. Love them all. Thanks.
    Wish you a wonderful day. Best regards, Iris.

    1. Iris, thankfully the bush fires are raging quite a long way away from where I live. They're always a common occurrence during our summers here, and can be devastating. Luckily there has not been much loss of life.

      As to the summer temperatures here, even I find them unbearable. I'm inside the house with the air-con on for half the day. I don't get out into the garden much at this time of year.

      My husband did a great job given just how much he dislikes anything to do with gardening. He found the watering extremely stressful!

      It's great to see you dropping by and enjoying the photos today.

  6. Bernie despite the season being late for you there is a wonderful array of blooms.......I would have a field day photographing your blooms!

    1. Rosie, your photography talent would turn my garden into a masterpiece!

  7. Wow amazing how in different parts of the country we can grow such different plants! White ixora who would have thought??? Looks like you live in a beautiful part of the world

    1. Digging up the dirt, I do have a white Ixora but it's not flowering at the moment. I think you mixed up the text and the photos. I always add the relevant text below the photos that match. Today I highlighted the red Ixora and my apricot one. They are brilliant in a tropical garden.

  8. Hi Bernie, glad you're back. I know your husband is extremely glad that you are back too.....he did a good job in your absence.
    Your garden still has lots of beautiful blooms to admire.
    Take your time and start on the cleaning up, and it will get done eventually...don't stress.
    Bernie, does the Wrightia antidysenterica Arctic Snow have seeds? It is gorgeous.

    1. Virginia, my darling was overjoyed to see me return home, lol! There are still a few lovely blooms, you're absolutely right about that. I will be taking some time to get the garden back to what it was because it's simply too hot and too humid to spend much time outdoors anyway.

      Regarding the Wrightia, no Virginia I haven't seen the plant setting seed. It's not all that easy to propagate even by taking cuttings either.

  9. Thank you for helping stave off the nature deficit disorder I suffer from due to gardening in the northeastern U.S. I am sorry for your dryness but enjoyed the flowers of your blooms most thoroughly. The birds as well. Enjoy that warmth. It is dreary and dormant here in New England.

    1. Only too glad to help stave off your disorder, Layanee. The dryness is usual for us, but it's still hard to take. I've been through years of drought before, so I should really stop complaining. Although to me everything is dreary here as well.

  10. You have the coolest wildlife. But your temps! I am headed to 90° summer weather on Sunday. I hope it feels like 80° by the seaside. I love the color of the Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose, such a pretty plant. I know they are noisy, I know they are destructive, but I would not mind
    Sulphur Crested in my trees. My cockatoo is a Moluccan.

    1. Gardenwalk, we do have some amazing wildlife, I agree. We very lucky. Our temps are pretty commonplace for summer, but I find as I get older it's harder to live with.

      I suppose it's just because I'm at home during the day at the moment, still on break from school, and therefore I notice the noise of the Cockatoos far more than usual.

  11. Tropicals are mostly just a memory in my garden right now, or cuttings under glass waiting for spring. What a treat to visit all your pretties. I hope most of what failed while you were gone are easily replaced with seed or cuttings or new little plants. Sometimes failures show you how a garden can be restructured.

    1. NellJean, when I dropped by your latest blog post I saw your greenhouse filled with lovely tropicals like Pentas and Russelia. They look very healthy indeed. Most of what I lost can be replaced fairly easily as I do have some cuttings on the go, but I'm now thinking of going down a different track with the potted plants out in the courtyard. I've been having exactly the same thought you mentioned at the end of your comment.

  12. Tropicals are mostly just a memory in my garden right now, or cuttings under glass waiting for spring. What a treat to visit all your pretties. I hope most of what failed while you were gone are easily replaced with seed or cuttings or new little plants. Sometimes failures show you how a garden can be restructured.

  13. What a gorgeous and varied garden you have. It is an inspiration. I greatly enjoyed my visit.

    1. Well thanks you very much, Dorothy. It's always great to hear positive comments from new visitors.

  14. Hi Bernie, i forgot the dates so when i remembered today, the link is already full. Next month seem to be a long time, anyway! Your garden don't seem to be neglected as i see it. That's a lot of plants doing well, and you have a lot of photos. I don't allow my duranta to fruit like that, i always prune each branch after flowering to give new branches again for flowering.

    1. Hi Kalantikan, the GBBD meme is certainly popular isn't it? I haven't joined in for a couple of months now, so I made a determined effort this month and got ready early. The garden is quite drab at the moment in my eyes, but there's still a few things in bloom. I think when the rain arrives I might feel a little better about the garden.

  15. Thank you for sharing your garden. Even here in the subtropical band of the Northern Hemisphere winter has arrived, so your glimpses ahead to warmer days ahead is so warming to see.

    1. Thanks James. Well down here it's very warm. I'm looking forward to the end of these hot summer days. It's the high humidity levels that really get to me. It's very draining trying to do anything.

  16. Reading about your temperature and humidity reminds me of our summer, which seems so far away at the moment. I can't believe you see your garden is drab. You should see mine - you'd be so depressed! You have such a wonderful variety of blooming trees, shrubs and plants - and the wildlife! Love those lorikeets and sulphur crested cockatoos! Bless your hubby for doing the detested watering while you were away :-)

  17. How lovely to see all those blooms. Isn't the Internet wonderful?


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